Mayor Margo Anderson
Message From the Mayor
Dear Fellow Citizens of Lynn Haven:
I can hardly believe that five years have passed since I started on this journey to serve as Lynn Haven’s Mayor. As many of you know, I retired from my position as a staff training specialist with Bay District Schools, and I own a business, Anderson Productions LLC, through which I am a published author, as well as a professional musician and entertainer. I hold a Master’s degree in Language and Literature from Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee, and a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in English and French from the University of Southern Mississippi.
My work experiences include a Florida real estate license, owning my own business, teaching at the high school and college levels, a technical writer and editor for a United States Army contractor, editor and publisher of a community newspaper, and five years as a flight attendant for a major airline.
I am married to Lee Anderson, who is retired and a 100% disabled combat veteran of the United States Navy who served during the Vietnam Conflict; together we have five children and fourteen grandchildren!
My father, Louie W. Deal, now deceased, was a former Lynn Haven City Commissioner, and my mother, Geri Deal, lives next door to me on Tennessee Avenue. My brother, Dr. Roy Deal, is the medical director of Emerald Coast Behavioral Hospital in Panama City, and he also lives in Lynn Haven.
I was born in Bay County and lived as a child in the same house I do now, but traveled and lived in many parts of the United States as well as overseas because of my father’s work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We moved back to Lynn Haven when he retired in 1985, and I have lived and worked here since that time, happy to return to my childhood home.
When I decided to seek this office in 2015, I was discouraged by the complacency and the stagnation that I observed in our local government, and so my campaign was about what I would do if I were elected. I promised: (1) to take steps to repair the seawall and boat docks at Porter Park and improve and upgrade all of our city parks to make them a part of my overall vision of a “live, work, eat, play” walking, cycling, and golf-cart friendly community; (2) to work to develop Florida Avenue, the old main street of Lynn Haven to an area of small boutiques, restaurants, green spaces, small farmer’s market grocers, coffee shops, ice cream & candy shop, and an area for community festivals and entertainment; (3) to make Lynn Haven a golf-cart friendly city; (4) to find a space for the 1911 Helen McMullen Library to be moved and to assist local groups to preserve it for posterity; (5) to cover and pipe the 17th Street Ditch; (6) to implement a massive paving plan to include replacement of aging clay pipes and decaying culverts which had not been touched in decades; (7) to build splashpads for our children in the parks; (8) to implement more festivals and events in our City to allow residents to enjoy our City rather than having to drive to other areas for entertainment; (9) to change the meeting times of the City Commission to evening to allow more resident participation; (10) to review and consider replacing accounting, auditing ,insurance, and legal consultants to the City who had been in place for decades , and (11) to improve the communication and transparency between the City Commission and the residents. During the summer of 2018, as I was reviewing the 23 miles of freshly paved streets, the beautiful parks, and the overall “state of the city,” I was so very proud to say that all of the promises I made back in 2015 had been kept.
And then like nothing any of us had ever seen before, on October 10th, 2018, Hurricane Michael devastated our City and destroyed not only those things which I had worked so hard to accomplish for the City I love so much, but also the hopes and dreams of every person who lives here. Thousands of beautiful trees were wiped out in just a few hours, wildlife and birds killed or displaced, over 250 homes completely destroyed and almost every home damaged so severely that residents have been forced to either move to other areas or live in campers, RV’s, and trailers on their properties, with many still waiting on insurance and other claims.
My family has lived here for five generations, and my husband Lee and I live in the same house my grandparents built in the old section of Lynn Haven many decades ago; I have no list of promises to make during this second term as Mayor. My heart has been ripped out in the same way that many of you have experienced; every morning we wake up to the same view of destruction, and it is depressing and hard to look at. Those who do not live here cannot understand what we face, and there are no easy answers to how we will rebuild, overcome financial hurdles, and continue to thrive like we always have as one of the most beautiful, small coastal cities in Florida.
What I do know is this; because you decided for me to lead the City for a second term as Mayor, I will continue to do what I always have. I will listen, I will be accessible, I will be transparent, I will work my heart out to bring us back to where we were before the storm, and I will continue to believe in the unshakable power that we have when we work together cleaning up, replanting, rebuilding, and reshaping our lives. I was in the police annex with our first responders on the day that Hurricane Michael destroyed it around us and almost took our lives; that day changed my life forever as I am sure it changed each of yours. I believe that each of us can grow from what we have experienced, and that instead of looking back to what was, we can look forward to the future of what will be…a bright future for all of us who live and work in the City of Lynn Haven.